Google and Trademark
Google has been in court recently for its practice of selling ‘adwords.’ Essentially a company buys a word, and then when users search for that word, the company comes up under the list of ‘sponsored links.’ They place where Google gets into trouble is when the keyword sold is a trademark. It is a fairly common practice for companies to buy their competitors trademarked words. The case in question is that of Rescuecom, a computer repair service. They were concerned that when they search for their trademark, their competitors’ services showed up first, and consumers could be confused.
A lower court found that the use of the trademark was internal and not commercial, however that was vacated and remanded a few days ago. The question seems to be whether or not, in selling the keyword, Google “uses” it according to the Lanham Act. If you’d like to read some articles about the case, check here, here, and here. Or maybe you’d like to take a look at the case itself.